Updated: Apr 8, 2020
There were angelic beings that crossed my path and one of them was a tiny woman in white.
In her diminutive frame of 4'11'', she always stood tall to many -- for she knew how to move clouds of sorrow and doubt away from each one's heart. Through her steadying words of wisdom, natural cheerfulness and disarming charm, she could bring so much light and power in any atmosphere. Her name was Dadi Janki.
I first met Dadi in my early twenties on my first trip to Madhuban, India. I was part of a group from the Philippines that performed a cultural dance in the Brahma Kumaris main headquarters, Gyan Sarovar, as part of our spiritual program and retreat. And Dadi sat there behind all of us like a grandmother, calling all performers onstage after the show, giving each one a big hug, as if she saw her own long lost children for the very first time.
And this was Dadi's nearly magical speciality, to make everyone feel absolutely loved, whoever and however they are.
I have many fond memories listening to, and feeling deeply awakened by Dadi's live classes in Madhuban; she was lovely to watch as she was naturally articulate and entertaining, and yet in her simplicity, she had the depth and clarity of a teacher-sage. She carried so much authority with her as she spoke of her experience and depth of spiritual knowledge and closeness with God. She was always filled with jewels of spiritual wisdom to give away, as if she was the ocean of wisdom herself.
Yet Dadi also had the lightness and naturalness of a child, like she could just be your playmate. At any moment, she can also just lead everyone to get off their seats and do a dance, and I saw this when she visited the Brahma Kumaris retreat center in Tagaytay. Her eyes shone so bright and still, with only her hands clapping. Yet her whole being danced in joy and love for a Beloved, even in her stillness.
And her stamina was amazing -- despite her age, I saw how she loved to wake up to lead a group meditation as early as 4am, which is part of yogic discipline.
Dadi first came to the Brahma Kumaris in her early 20s, and dedicated her whole life in service of humanity through teaching meditation and spirituality from thereon. She developed into one the institution's main leaders, and in the 70's started spiritual service in London, from which the seed of the institution's service in foreign countries grew.
Dadi is a naturally powerful and inspiring teacher; her prolific classes would be regularly read in the BK centres across the globe, and they all had the power of experience, clarity and deep love of a true yogi and trustee of the Divine.
There were tears of love when I heard of Dadi's passing. I felt that a part of my spiritual childhood has gone as the Dadis, the elders of my spiritual path, are slowly fading and moving on. It feels that those who have been left need to step up in their efforts, leaving the reigns to a new generation of spiritual leaders.
And we are those very ones. The leader will not be my neighbour, not the presidents of countries, not my parents, not the elders. It will be each one of us.
It is our time.
Her leaving came like a breath of fresh air after so much frenzied news of the global pandemic. In spirituality, death is just another transition, and while there are heartstrings of love for Dadi, everyone who knew her could feel the joy of her victory of having led a full life, 104 years in all, most of those were used solely to serve and uplift many souls to become the best they can be. There was never a letdown because of her age, and Dadi accomplished so much since she took the chief administrative leadership of the institution at the age of 92.
I woke up this morning reading so many messages of love about her from all over the world, and I was inspired to write my own special memory of Dadi.
Below is a song for Dadi Janki from one of our students in the UK, just one of the loving global tributes to her gigantic love for humanity.
She was that tiny flower whose roots were deeply rooted in the Source of Love, the Comforter of Hearts, and thereby lived a truly rich, deeply-inspring life.
I know that she will continue to become a source of comfort, courage and power for many -- especially in these delicate times -- and even long after she is gone.
Lucinda Drayton's song for Dadi Janki, "The love song of a tiny flower."